NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Toledo OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi

With the draft over and our profiles on all seven of the Pittsburgh Steelers draft picks complete, we’re dipping our toe into the undrafted territory. We profiled a couple of them before the draft but most of the 13, we didn’t. Today, we’re looking at Toledo OLB Olasunkanmi Adeniyi.

#9 Olasunkanmi Adeniyi/OLB Toledo – 6’1/1 248

The Good

– Big frame, not long and lanky and uses powerful lower half to create explosion off the snap
– Uses smaller height to his advantage and able to leverage tall tackles in the pass game, capable of getting skinny and cornering the edge at the junction point
– Shows football IQ and ability to read tackles pass set, counters inside with swim when linemen begin to cheat
– Not a great athlete in space but shows short area burst and ability to close, does so with violence
– Consistent source of pressure and even if sacks weren’t there, routinely forced QB to move off his launch spot, roll out, take half the field and options away
– Played both OLB spots, hand up/down, field/boundary, used to playing on his feet
– Shows strength to hold the POA against the run when playing with proper leverage, even at times when he isn’t square
– Runs fits were strong, not often out of position
– Shows good vision on the football in the run game and helps him get off blocks
– Developed hand use as a pass rush and isn’t often stuck on blocks, able to disengage
– Productive career and came on strong as a senior, showed toughness playing through injury

The Bad

– Stocky frame and lacks length for the position (31 3/4 inch arms)
– Despite playing on his feet, rarely asked to drop into coverage
– Below average athlete in space, worry about his ability to get depth as zone dropper, will struggle in man, and lack of athleticism is going to hurt him on coverage units
– Must do better job converting speed to power
– Will get too tall taking on base blocks and lose his leverage, hand use is underdeveloped too and struggles to recover if he can’t immediately get his hands inside
– Doesn’t run after the ball hard enough downfield/when it’s away from him, too many loafs (though wonder if coaching/injury had some effect)
– Tendency to drop eyes when trying his bull rush
– Often asked to one gap, faced lots of read option teams and he was often the “read end”
– Too many mental mistakes, penalties and encroachments
– Only one year of serious production


– Left school a year early, entered draft as a redshirt junior
– Career: 28 TFL, 12.5 sacks
– 2017: 20 TFL, 8 sacks
– Ran 4.83 at Combine, 31.5 inch vert, 7.21 three cone
– Second Team All-Mac in 2017
– Had five sacks as a senior in high school

Tape Breakdown

Adeniyi is one of the more notable Steelers’ undrafted free agents. He broke out in 2017 with 20 TFL and 8 sacks, the most he’s ever had in a single season of football. On tape, it’s easy to see why he had success. He’s squatty with lower body explosion and his lack of length helps him bend the edge. He shows more hip and ankle flexion than his three cone indicates (7.21) and he can turn the corner well.

Watch him do so off the right side here and finish it for a sack.

And again here.

This is one of my favorite plays of his. Forces the keep on the read option but still tackles the QB for a loss. Actually injured him and knocked him out of the game, though I certainly don’t classify that as an inherent “good.”

Adeniyi looks draftable when asked to move forward. But going backward? I think it’s easy to see some problems there, even knowing he didn’t do that very often (and with good reason). He’s a marginal athlete in space, a little fire hydrant trucking around. Watch the Nevada QB easily beat him to the corner here.

I have some serious concerns about his ability to move backwards, even something simple like curl/flat. And though his ability to shed blocks will be useful on special teams, I see someone who is just going to slog out there and have problems covering ground. The Combine numbers help tell that story.

Though he is lacking size for a 4-3, I feel like his best fit is in that scheme. Where he can go forward 98% of the time and get after the QB. In something like the Steelers scheme, I think he’ll be even more exposed. But he is a tough player who has that one solid trait and it’s possible he sticks around on the practice squad. After watching him though, I’m not very bullish on his chances of the 53, even given the Steelers lack of depth.

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